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Brazil’s Veteran Leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Wins Presidential Runoff; Defeats Jair Bolsonaro

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva narrowly defeated President Jair Bolsonaro in a runoff election on Sunday, ending Brazil’s most right-wing administration in decades and marking a spectacular comeback for the leftist former president.

The Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) declared Lula the next president, with 50.9% of votes against 49.1% for Bolsonaro. The 77-year-old Lula’s inauguration is scheduled for Jan. 1.

It was a stunning comeback for the leftist former president and a punishing blow to Bolsonaro, the first Brazilian incumbent to lose a presidential election.

“So far, Bolsonaro has not called me to recognize my victory, and I don’t know if he will call or if he will recognize my victory,” Lula told tens of thousands of jubilant supporters celebrating his win on Sao Paulo’s Paulista Ave.

Bolsonaro last year openly discussed refusing to accept the results of the vote, making baseless claims that Brazil’s electronic voting system was vulnerable to fraud.

One close Bolsonaro ally, lawmaker Carla Zambelli, in an apparent nod to the results, wrote on Twitter, “I PROMISE you, I will be the greatest opposition that Lula has ever imagined.”

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